University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Department of History

Faculty - Clay Jenkinson

Clay Jenkinson

Clay Jenkinson, UVM Marsh Professor-at-Large

Area of expertise

Public Humanities Scholar

Contact Information
Email: Clay Jenkinson

Phone: (802) 656-3180

Clay Jenkinson is one of the leading public humanities scholars in the United States. In 1989 he was awarded the National Endowment for the Humanities' highest honor, the Charles Frankel Prize, now called the National Humanities Medal. He has also been named the Kansas Humanities Scholar of the Year (1988) and the Nevada Humanities Scholar of the Year (2001). Jenkinson is a scholar-in-residence at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon and the Theodore Roosevelt Scholar-in-Residence at Dickinson State University, which is located in his hometown of Dickinson, North Dakota. Upon graduation from the University of Minnesota, he was awarded a Rhodes scholarship to study English Renaissance Literature and Theology at Oxford. In the early 1980s, he was part of a group of individuals working to re-envision the ways that public history might invigorate our national culture. To put this new vision into practice, he began working with the North Dakota Humanities Council to create a modern-day Chautauqua. He is best known as a historical re-enactor of Thomas Jefferson. He has performed his Jefferson program over 1,000 times in 49 states. His audiences have included everyone from President and Mrs. Bush and President and Mrs. Clinton to college faculty and students to book club members meeting in public libraries. He has expanded his program to include Meriwether Lewis, Theodore Roosevelt and Robert Oppenheimer. In portraying historical figures of the past and bringing their ideas to life, he talks about the present and the future. To obtain more information on Jenkinson's work visit

Jenkinson was appointed as a Marsh professor in 2006. His 2009 visit to the campus (2/9/09-2/14/09) was coordinated by Melanie Gustafson, Associate Professor of History.   For all Marsh professors' schedules, please consult Oracle Calendar under the agenda name of "Professors, Marsh."  For additional information on the program, visit UVM James Marsh Professors-at-Large Program.


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